DFO closes Kitimat and Prince Rupert waters to shellfish harvest

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Kitimat and Prince Rupert waters are currently closed to bivalve shellfish harvest, Oceans and Fisheries Canada (DFO) stated on July 28.

Bivalve shellfish are aquatic life that have two shells including clams, cockles, mussels, oysters and scallops.

The DFO makes decisions to close shellfish harvesting throughout the year for conservation and public health reasons.

In the Kitimat arm and Prince Rupert Harbour, there are sanitary contamination closures in addition to marine bio-toxin concerns.

“Eating contaminated shellfish can make you very sick and can even be life threatening,” the DFO website states.

The DFO also remind harvesters that harvesting of the invertebrates is always prohibited 300 metres around industrial, municipal and sewage treatment plant outfall discharges and 125 metres around a marina, ferry wharf, floating house or any finfish net pen.

In addition to Kitimat and Prince Rupert directly, harvesting is closed in all of area six and most of area four. More information about specific locations can be found on the DFO website at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/contamination/index-eng.html.

When the waters are open, recreational harvesters still must check limits for specific species of shellfish.

Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View

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